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TikTok Announces Relentless Legal Response If U.S. Ban Comes Into Force


TikTok Announces Relentless Legal Response If U.S. Ban Comes Into Force    

TikTok is preparing to sue the U.S. government over the controversial ban on the popular video-sharing app, claiming the measure violates the Constitution’s First Amendment, Variety reports.

The move comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Saturday that would ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, divests its ownership stake. The bill gives the Chinese company nine months to sell TikTok, with a potential 90-day extension.

In a memo to staff over the weekend, which The Associated Press had obtained, Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s Head of Public Policy for the Americas, stated the company plans to challenge the bill in court if it becomes law. “At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” he wrote.

Beckerman argues the bill represents “a clear violation” of the First Amendment’s free speech protections. He warns it would have “devastating consequences” for the 7 million small businesses operating on the TikTok platform.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote. President Biden has indicated he would sign it into law.

TikTok has successfully challenged previous attempts to ban the app on constitutional grounds. Last December, a federal judge blocked a statewide platform ban in Montana, ruling it likely violated the First Amendment. Courts also found a proposed Trump administration-forced sale of TikTok to be unconstitutional.

Legal experts suggest the current bill’s targeted nature poses challenges for the government. “Banning TikTok would selectively target one platform, and the speech rights of its 170 million users would be collateral damage,” Kate Ruane of the Center for Democracy & Technology told Variety.

Despite the looming legislative threat, TikTok continues operating as usual. The company recently struck deals with artists like Taylor Swift to promote new music releases through interactive features. TikTok also announced partnerships with ticketing companies AXS and Ticketmaster and will serve as the entertainment partner for the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

Beckerman affirmed TikTok’s intent to keep fighting. “This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,” he wrote, criticizing the bill as “an unprecedented deal worked out between the Republican Speaker and President Biden.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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